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South African legendary actress, Mary Twala, dies

By Tatenda Marwodzi

South Africans are pouring in their heartfelt condolences over the death of legendary actress Mary Twala who passed away in Johannesburg on Saturday morning. Her passing, which coincidentally falls on her late husband Ndaba Mhlongo’s birthday, was announced by son Somizi Mhlongo who revealed that he was on his way to drop off her gown when he learnt of her passing.

While details around her death are still unclear, the family has confirmed that she passed away peacefully. “Thank you, SA for loving the phenomenal superstar that is my mother. She left us peacefully at about 11 am at Parklane private hospital,” said Somizi. Mary Twala, 80, whose acting career spanned a period of 60 years, was well known for her legendary roles in films such as Sarafina, Yizo Yizo, Ubizo: The calling and Hlalakwabafileyo.

In 1991 she starred in hit film Taxi to Soweto to which she was awarded the best-supporting actress for her role. Years later in 2010, she was nominated for best-supporting actress for starring in local film Hopeville. In 2019, the government of South Africa honoured her with an Order of Ikhamanga for her lifelong contribution to the performing arts.

The president took to social media to mourn her passing, “Like millions of South Africans, I am saddened by the passing of a great icon of our nation’s creative community. Someone who was a household name and face to all of us, and brought home the joys, the struggles and the humour under pressure that characterises our national life.” Mary is survived by her son Somizi Mhlongo and granddaughter Bahumi Madisakwane.

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